MEET THE TEAM
Jake, the owner; Bryzena, a psychology grad student; and LeSean, the Housing Manager and certified recovery coach who is a full-time resident in the House. As team mentors, they will assist the residents on how to live together in harmonious fellowship and further individualistic developments by incorporating an organized structured environment with proven evidenced-based practices.
From my earliest memory as a child I can recall being restless, irritable and extremely unhappy even though I had everything that would reflect a good childhood and upbringing – family, friends, and aspirations to succeed in life. Accordingly, the feelings of discontent followed me throughout my adolescence, which is probably why drugs played such a critical role early in my life. With the introduction of OxyContin following a car accident, drugs became the central focus in my life. Heroin quickly followed after the prescriptions for pain ran out, and as a result, so did my first residential treatment while I was still in high school. Relapses, detox centers, and countless different treatment centers became normalcy in my life followed by arrests and jail time. It was a perpetual circle of doom and gloom.
After endless trials and errors of recovery treatments for well over ten years, I was finally given a moment of clarity - sobriety resulting in a state of peace and balance in my life. Not only did sober living provide the safe structured environment I needed (and initially didn’t want at the time), it provided a positive outlook on life that I continue to carry with me today. As a matter of fact, I still have the same connections I made with people I met in sober living. Genuine friendships with like-minded people is something I never thought I would experience, but I was given another chance. A 30-day treatment center was not enough for me, but a successive six-month sober living situation served as the perfect transition to help me recover so I can share my experience with others and help them find enlightenment in their life.
I’m currently attending UW-Milwaukee as a graduate student in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Master’s Program. When I initially tried to choose a major I knew I wanted to help people, but I wasn’t sure what path I should take in order to achieve that goal. Consequently, from choosing one career path to the next, I decided to study a collection of subjects - psychology, biology, philosophy, anthropology; I tried a bit of everything it seemed. In the end, I couldn’t help resisting what I was always drawn to, the study of the mind and culture. From there it still took some further reflection, but when I finally came to consider counseling I thought - “Yes! This is it!”
While I can’t recall what exactly set the light off to go this route, one thing I can say for sure is that my own experience in counseling played a big part in my final decision. I learned and experienced the healing power that simply being heard and understood can have on a person. Though, something else that can go a long way and something we can do for ourselves every day, is to practice mindfulness. Late into my undergraduate studies I took credits in meditation out of curiosity and since then it has become something I’d like to incorporate into my clinical practice once I graduate. My goal is to introduce mindfulness in a safe environment where it can be talked about and practiced and to start people on the way to learning how to effectively slow down and live in the moment. The mind and body are connected and has been supported through research. It is for this reason I would like to share what has benefited my own internal well-being with people working on their sobriety through mindfulness practices and meditation.